JJ Abrams’ Star Trek II – The Seed of Khan

So recently I heard the rumor that Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing the part of Khan Noonian Singh in J.J. Abrams’ next Star Trek movie. Cool. It shocks me how far I have gone from my old obsessive Trekkie roots, when I don’t hear about this stuff until my Mom’s roommate mentions it. Once upon a time I would have been all over this stuff. Amazing what age and having a family(what we once referred to dismissively as, “A Life”) can do to things like that…

Now the earlier rumors(that I wasn’t aware of) that Benicio del Toro would be playing Khan didn’t pan out. I’m a huge fan of Cumberbatch from Sherlock, but he is a big change in look from Ricardo Montalban. Well… actually… looking at the pictures together… The likeness isn’t too unreasonable.

In some sense, with J.J. Abrams’ first movie, Star Trek graduated. It was no longer a show or a franchise, it had really become a work, like Hamlet, or The Scarlet Pimpernell. It had transcended the individuals who created it and become something that an actor could aspire to play in. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForrest Kelley, James Doohan and all the rest made their characters, Gene Roddenberry made the show, but they no longer are the show. It’s an important distinction, I think. While lots of people, including myself, have made the Star Trek universe their own sandbox to play in, Abrams legitimized it. My Star Trek Universe is different from Abrams’, but it definitely ain’t the Okudaverse…

But anyway, Abrams has already changed the Enterprise, in some ways for the better, in some ways not so much. I’d like to develop my 3d-modeling skills to the point where I can combine the parts I like from the new Enterprise with the parts I like from the classic version.

Now if Abrams really is remaking the first meeting between Kirk et al and Khan, then we have an opportunity. Just as Abrams improved Kirk’s Enterprise, we can improve Khan’s Botany Bay. We can make it look more like something that might have been built by a late 20th century NASA, or if we’re updating this a mid 21st century ISA. Paul Davies made some cool drawings of a more “realistic,” Botany Bay, which Winchell Chung of 3D-Starmaps and Atomic Rockets fame realized as an excellent 3d model using Blender. Here it is, next to the Enterprise.

And here it is, at the International Space Station before being seized by a band of fugitive Augments after the Eugenics War.

Although, I suspect when Botany Bay, was probably fully loaded with propellants and supplies for a long journey when she left the ISS in 1996(1). So she might have looked a bit like this:

Sadly, no historical images exist of a fully-laden DY-100 docked to the ISS prior to its cannibalization in 2042.

(1)Having lived through the ’90s and never having noticed World War III happening or any spacecraft quite as hot as the DY-100 series flying around, I have to assume that date is a bit sketchy…

While a very cool design, I’m not entirely jiggy with the sail or the streamlined nose on a vessel clearly unsuited for atmospheric operations. the possibility exists that at least the nose section was launched from Earth by more conventional chemical-fueled boosters and the streamlining remains from its early life as the nosecone of a Constellation V rocket booster. I also remember a forum post by Mr. Chung some time ago, where he had images of a modification with the nose as a detachable DC-X – style landing craft. A very cool idea, that…

In any case its a good match for the canon ship which I think something calling itself Star Trek should at least nod towards. Next to any version of Star Trek’s United Star Ship Enterprise, this looks like seriously hard science fiction. I wonder if Nyrath has stats for this thing…?

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